Any mental health professional will tell you how bad it is for your health to hold a grudge. Well, to be honest, any medical professional and human being would encourage you to free yourself from the weight of animosity. Simply put: it could save your life.
Researchers at Hope College in Holland, Michigan say forgiveness seems to be better for people than holding a grudge, at least in terms of negative effects on the body. In the research plan to conduct they look to find that those who score higher on a forgiveness scale will have less anger, depression, anxiety and are at a lower risk for cardiovascular disease.*
The problem is that it’s easier said than done.
You’ve heard the expression “I’ll forgive but I’ll never forget.” It sums up a “healthy” ability to move beyond a past hurt.
Or does it?
While letting go of something that has negatively impacted your life is very healthy, continuing to remember it or worse ruminate about it, is will set you on a spiraling path of pain. I am not a forgiveness expert. But I do understand the power of removing the chains that tie you to a mental burden in such a way that never let’s you go or permits you to be free.
A big part of forgiveness includes forgiving ourselves.
Too often we hold on to guilt about something we did in our past or something we didn’t do. While guilt manifests itself in many ways, it can seriously derail your career, relationships, health and life if it’s not fully explored and thoughtfully managed. Again, I’m not here to provide you with an analysis of how deeply rooted your guilt may be or what steps you need to take in order to heal, but I would like to bring attention to this very powerful emotion.
Forgiveness starts within than extends to those around you. Family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and anyone who’s hurt you in the past will continue to hurt you if you let them. How? By holding a grudge. Whether they meant to hurt you or not, they were simply reacting to their own pain.
Keep in mind, those who hurt have been hurt so they inflict hurt.
When you work on changing your perspective, it becomes a little easier to loosen the grudge and replace hurt with compassion. When you have the opportunity to do so, it’s very liberating. Why not give it a try? It will be good for your career and your health.
This guest blog was contributed by Kim Monaghan, published author, creative and corporate writer. Learn more about her books and works at www.KBMWriting.com